It’s been 10 years since I was first introduced to R. Back then, I was a young product development manager at DoubleClick, a company that sells advertising software for managing online ad sales. I was working on inventory prediction: estimating the number of ad impressions that could be sold for a given search term, web page, or demographic characteristic. I wanted to play with the data myself, but we couldn’t afford a piece of expensive software like SAS or MATLAB. I looked around for a little while, trying to find an open source statistics package, and stumbled on R. Back then, R was a bit rough around the edges, and was missing a lot of the features it has today (like fancy graphics and statistics functions). But R was intuitive and easy to use; I was hooked. Since that time, I’ve used R to do many different things: estimate credit risk, analyze baseball statistics, and look for Internet security threats. I’ve learned a lot about data, and matured a lot as a data analyst.
R, too, has matured a great deal over the past 10 years. R is used at the world’s largest technology companies (including Google, Microsoft, and Facebook), the largest pharmaceutical companies (including Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Pfizer), and at hundreds of other companies. It’s used in statistics classes at universities around the world and by statistics researchers to try new techniques and algorithms.